Tips for Finding Income Opportunities to Support your Art Habit

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The above Pinback/Magnet is sold in my ETSY shop: suzanneartist

Firefox and WordPress just screwed up and lost this post-please for my efforts “like”, “StumbleUpon” or “Diggit” this post if you found it helpful-I’m rewriting it now:

My last post I gave a run down on some part time jobs I had over the years to support my illustration business. Unless one is married to a doctor, lawyer or someone with a six-figure income or inherited a bundle or has generous parents, trying to build a sustainable art business from scratch is hard.

Here’s some ideas on finding income to support oneself while waiting for the ETSY shop to take off, or a commission to come in, or a gallery to wake up and notice your work or and so on. Without further ado:

• Government Job-more specifically town jobs but they pay better than some jobs, and if they don’t they come with great benefits. This is at the tax payer’s expense but there are two sure things in life, death and taxes-so the income source is there. Working in the library shelving books, assigning beach stickers, working as a school aide (Para)-not all of these jobs will be part-time but if you work in a school you will be on the school calendar which means summers off, vacations off-sans pay but time to work your own business and you will have health insurance if full time i.e. 11-month employee. My suggestion is to seek school work in more monied towns near your area.

• Online internet freelance sites-If you check my links menu under my header you will note one that says: “Resources 4 U”-this is a list of links to sites help the creatif. I’ve only listed a few here, there are more, and dig deeper through surfing to find illustrator/designer forums where artists will recommend one over the other, Guru is one such recommended site. Please note I haven’t used some of these sites myself yet but others have made money this way:

Can you write? These sites find jobs for writers:
Can you draw? How about selling DigiStamps? My work is on this site:
This is my page:SuzanneUrban

Can you design logos? websites? templates? Initial pay may not be great, but surf around the sites and see how much some designers have made in a year, AND this creates a portfolio for you. A friend of mine recently hired a logo designer from 99designs for her new business. Herewith:

• Apply for a Grant-this is hard, but there are individual businesses making this easier for people-I find the government grant programs either online scams or you have to have non-profit status. Try these sites, also google or go to library or buy a Grant Writing for Dummies book to help you:

• Production Artist at a Newspaper-doesn’t pay well, but because of this for those of you who aren’t totally computer savvy, you could learn more photoshop, illustrator or InDesign while you work. People at newspapers are more focused on getting the product out under a tight deadline-so if they have to stop and show you how to use the rubberstamp tool in PS real fast, they will. (However this has been my personal experience). You can dress casual and where I worked they allowed me to run free ads on my art business. You can find free online computer tutorials here:Escape from Illustration Island

• Continuing Ed-Teaching evening classes or teaching at a local Arts Center or Art School can provide steady part time income. I’d shy away from teaching out of one’s own home, as you would need liability insurance and that’s expensive. What could you teach? Photoshop? Doll Artistry? Painting? Write up a course outline pick up a Continuing Ed catalog to get an idea on how to writeup a course. Be aware that if no one signs up for your course, you won’t make money. Call local School District office for contact name.

• Waitering for Caterers-you’ll need black pants, white shirt and a black bow-tie, the work is physical but pays well. It’s also seasonal for the most part busy during wedding and holiday season, quiet otherwise. I chose working for caterers over restaurants as I didn’t want to handle money or depend on individually doled out tips, or deal one-on-one with the public. Bartending at events is a great way to make money too, you would need to know a lot about mixed drinks so bone up or take a class. Let caterers know you can do calligraphy or create props out of foam core this could generate income. When I was at my poorest I was given food to take home too! Find Catering halls and Individual Caterers online in the yellow pages.

• Think sales-My husband and I are thinking of ways to expand his business income so I can move forward with working straight from the studio. Recently he noticed a sales person who made an appt with him was in his eighties. Sales positions seem to hire all ages. So my husband is interested in selling solar panels since he purchased some on the side. You get paid only by commission, and networking is key. If you get a part time job at a school i.e. in a largely populated institution add to your income by becoming an Avon or MaryKay or other company representative-pass catalog out in staff lounge-make sure this isn’t frowned on by superiors.

Last but not least-TWO Urban tips: Lower your living expenses swap out the incandescent bulbs with the new “green” ones. My husband recently swapped out all the incandescent bulbs in our home, this means my studio got hit too. The good news? The new warm light bulbs are wonderful! The even gooder news? Our electric bill was reduced 80%

I found cheap art supplies on Craigslist-need a kiln? ShrinkyDink machine? drawing table? Check out Craigslist in your area.

and. . .Check out my blogroll there are blog links to sites that can help you. I hope this was helpful, as a big peeve of mine are these enthusiastic suggestions from online career coaches who have never tried what they’re suggesting. Case in point-Monetizing your blog-in order to make money you need a HUGE follow-ship-this is hard to build-and one has to post daily on blog and be able to write really, really well and target a popular niche market and…


About suzanneurban

ABOUT MOI: I was born in San Francisco, California to highly intelligent parents, and my sister is pretty darn smart too. It's unclear if I inherited the smart genes. I graduated with a B.A. in Art from Marymount College Over a couple of decades, I illustrated and designed for newspapers, greeting card companies, in corporate graphic departments and publishing empires. I reside with my antique dealer husband and two house rabbits in a the third oldest home in Connecticut–(honest!-no ghosts-bummer). My husband will be joining ETSY with his own shop called: "VintageUrban" soon. ARTIST STATEMENT: I seek to amuse. When I come up with something more profound I'll put it in here. KUDOS: Over the years my work in various forms has been published in: NYTimes, DollWorld, Contemporary Doll Collector, Doll Castle News, SCBWI magazine, Color! magazine, Jane Green's Down to Earth Blog, Doll World, Scholastics, Westport Magazine, Mail Me Art, and more. In 2007 I was invited to do something for the State Capitol's Holiday Tree by Governor Rell. I chose to needle felt a bear ornament rather than hang from the tree myself. I named him "Nutmeg" as Connecticut is the "Nutmeg" state. ASSOCIATIONS: I'm the founder of or Original Doll Artisans of Connecticut-we're on Facebook. I'm also a member of SCBWI-Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Licensing- my designs are finding favor with licensing clients my work will soon be seen on needlepoint canvases and gourmet ice cream labels. That's about it. Amusingly yours, Suzanne Search Engine Submission - AddMe
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